Davies returns to bolster Knights play-off tilt

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DIRECTOR of rugby Brett Davey has resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes as Doncaster Knights target their maiden win in the promotion play-offs at London Welsh this afternoon.

Davey has made just one alteration from the team beaten by Nottingham last weekend, with Tom Davies returning at loose-head prop at the expense of Stuart Corsar.

It was feared Davies would be sidelined for the rest of the season after he damaged his ribs against Bristol a fortnight ago but he has shaken off the knock to strengthen the forward ranks.

Another major coup for Knights ahead of their showdown in the capital is that captain Chris Hallam has passed a fitness test and will lead his troops into battle.

Former Cambridge utility back Toby Berridge, who shone on debut in Nottingham, retains the full-back berth for the clash, which kicks-off at 2.30pm.

However, Davey’s options are severely limited in the back division where David McIlwaine, Tom Luke and PJ Gidlow are all long term absentees and they were also dealt another big blow when fly-half Mike Whitehead announced his retirement earlier this week. Gareth Quinn-McDonogh is the man who has stepped in to fill the void left by Whitehead.

The odds are stacked against the unseeded Knights reaching the semi finals of the competition, having managed to score just six points from their first two matches and Davey’s troops are already five points adrift at the foot of Pool A, knowing a defeat to the Exiles will all but end their challenge.

Welsh, by contrast, have enjoyed a strong start to the play-offs, having beaten Nottingham and holding favourites Bristol to a draw at the Memorial Ground.

n KNIGHTS: Berridge, Flockhart; Goss, Burdon, Keating, Quinn-McDonogh, Hallam, Davies, Boden, Brown, Challinor, Parsons, Makaafi, Farivarz, Noone. Replacements: Burke-Flynn, Yeandle, Kettle, Boyde, Planchant, Heaney; Toft.